CHICAGO – Bobby Hatoff, well-known and respected chairman of Chicago-based Allen Brothers, former chairman of the North American Meat Processors Association, a member of the National Meat Association and a board member of the newly formed North American Meat Association (NAMA), passed away during the first weekend of October.

Allen Brothers is a leading supplier of USDA Prime beef to the nation’s top steakhouses and restaurants. Hatoff was committed to helping others in the meat industry. Many turned to him for advice, which his friends and associates said he gave freely. He appreciated the role of US Department of Agriculture officials and was willing to open his facility to those officials.

“Bobby was the quintessential gentleman and a recognized pioneer in the meat industry,” said Howard Samuels, chief operating officer, Allen Brothers. “He will be greatly missed at Allen Brothers, in the Chicago business community and throughout our industry.”

Hatoff had led the company since the early 1980s, Samuels said. “While we are very saddened by the loss, we at Allen Brothers know that it would be Bobby’s wishes that the company continue to produce unequaled products and services for its customers today and beyond. Bobby’s legacy continues on through his son, Todd, the company’s president and CEO. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Hatoff family at this difficult time.”

Hatoff was to have been inducted into the Meat Industry Hall of Fame on Oct. 27. Mel Saloman, his good friend and mentor and member of the MIHF Class of 2011, was scheduled to introduce him to the Hall.

“For us, Bobby was a truly outstanding individual who deeply cared about his fellow man. His legacy is rich and far reaching,” said NAMA CEO Barry Carpenter, NAMA Executive Vice President Phil Kimball and Rosemary Mucklow, Director Emeritus, in a joint statement. “Bobby was committed to helping others in the meat industry. Many turned to him for advice, which he gave freely. Bobby was modest about his many accomplishments. He was generous, and his friendship was the best gift of all. All of us who were privileged to share that friendship are better people for having known him. The thoughts and prayers of all NAMA members go to out to Bobby’s entire family.”

Samuels’ characterization of him as one of the recognized pioneers of the industry can only begin to describe his contributions to the meat business and his community, the NAMA executives relayed.

“Bobby was the kindest and most honorable man I have ever known. He was a true gentleman,” said Jim Marsden, Regent’s Distinguished Professor of Food Safety and Security at Kansas State Univ.

Hatoff was praised as being a visionary who was a passionate leader in the meat industry. He helped lead NAMP and NMA to consolidate and form NAMA in July. “The respect and stature that he had — and his conviction that a single, stronger association was best for the industry — convinced many that the consolidation was right,” NAMA said in a statement.